Here’s Your National Poetry Month Required Reading List

April is National Poetry Month, a time for readers and writers to come together to share their favorite verses. Bustle has put together your reading list for National Poetry Month 2020, filled with our favorite poetry volumes published this year. Keep scrolling to find some of our favorite collections from 2020, all ready and waiting for you to read them.

This has already been a banner year for poetry. Danez Smith, Wanda Coleman, and Sidney Wade all have new poetry collections coming out in 2020. The year has also given birth to the fourth BreakBeat Poets anthology, which highlights dozens of voices from across the Latinx experience. Whether you love poetry or haven’t read a single poem since Edward Lear’s "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat," now is a great time to stock your arsenal of collections in verse.

Although many people celebrate National Poetry Month by reading — or even writing — one poem every day, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a whole poetry collection every day this month. Bustle has picked out 14 great candidates, all from this year, to get you started.

Here’s your reading list for National Poetry Month 2020:

Homie by Danez Smith

After covering violence against black Americans in Don’t Call Us Dead, Danez Smith returned this year with Homie, a poetic treatise on friendship. At a time when many people are isolated away from their friends, Homie is a great selection to kick off your National Poetry Month reading.

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A Nail the Evening Hangs On by Monica Sok

Monica Sok’s debut collection, A Nail the Evening Hangs On, centers on her experiences as the daughter of Cambodian-American refugees who fled the Khmer Rouge. Ricocheting between generational trauma and her attachment to her parents’ home country, Sok’s poems will leave you feeling something and wanting more.

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Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

From the author of the American Book Award-winning When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem examines the ongoing and contentious relationship between mainstream America and the indigenous people who have been pushed to its margins.

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Foreign Bodies by Kimiko Hahn

In her 10th poetry collection, Kimiko Hahn draws inspiration from an assortment of swallowed-and-retrieved objects on display at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, moving from those small, ingestible items to personal and political reflections on the present and the past. Foreign Bodies is a wide-eyed, yet touching look at big-picture issues reflected in the infinitesimally small pieces of a life.

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We Want Our Bodies Back by jessica Care moore

From God Is Not an American author jessica Care moore comes this new collection about black women’s power and position in the world. Focusing on black women’s position at the intersection of blackness and womanhood, We Want Our Bodies Back is both an acknowledgement of and a rallying cry against marginalization.

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The Fish & the Dove by Mary-Kim Arnold

Fans know that Mary-Kim Arnold played fast and loose with genre in her 2018 memoir, Litany for the Long Moment. In The Fish & the Dove, Arnold combines stories from the Korean peninsula’s occupation and annexation with myths about the Assyrian goddess Semiramis. What emerges is a fascinating look at global depictions and experiences of women in wartime.

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Cut to Bloom by Arhm Choi Wild

What defines the American identity, and are these factors any different for those who have that identity hyphenated? Arhm Choi Wild explores questions of Asian-American identity in their first published collection of poetry, Cut to Bloom.

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The BreakBeat Poets, Vol. 4: LatiNEXT, edited by Felicia Rose Chavez, José Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo

Like other collections in the series, this fourth volume from the BreakBeat Poets combines hip-hop themes and rhythms with the experiences of Americans of color. Edited by Felicia Rose Chavez, José Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo, this collection brings Latinx voices to the fore.

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Obit by Victoria Chang

In Obit, The Boss author Victoria Chang dives deep into grief, revisiting the writing fugue that sustained her through the aftermath of her own mother’s passing. With poems written in the style of newspaper obituaries, Obit is an inventive new collection you’ll want to read over and over again.

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DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi

Seoul-born poet Don Mee Choi examines the complex relationship between South Korea and the U.S. in DMZ Colony, her follow-up to 2016’s Hardly War. A somewhat lengthy collection, clocking in at more than 150 pages, DMZ Colony is a brand-new book of poetry you’ll want to read this month.

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Wicked Enchantment by Wanda Coleman

Edited by Terrance Hayes, Wicked Enchantment brings together scores of poems from the late Wanda Coleman, the Guggenheim Fellow, poet, memoirist, and novelist who passed away in 2013. Dubbed "wickedly wise" and "transcendent" by The Washington Post, Coleman and her legacy live on in this new compilation.

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Junebat by John Elizabeth Stintzi

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award-winning author John Elizabeth Stintzi published their first collection earlier this month, making right now a great time to pick it up. Inspired by the poet’s time living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Junebat explores questions of gender, identity, and belonging.

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Deep Gossip by Sidney Wade

Deep Gossip brings 96 of Sidney Wade’s previously published poems to meet 27 original works. Each of the poems in this collection reckon with the natural world and politics, both on micro and macro levels.

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Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers by Lois Beardslee (Apr. 28)

Ojibwe author Lois Beardslee’s Words Like Thunder contains poems that cover the wealth of issues facing Native American and First Nations people in the Great Lakes region. Examining the climate crisis, income inequality, and everything in between, Words Like Thunder is a timely collection you won’t want to miss out on reading.

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